Snippets: Designs for Digital Transformations in the Age of Google Books

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In this paper we shall argue that, in the digital realm, design issues relative to literature have shifted in a number of crucial ways. In particular the role of design in relation to epistemological and legal issues of digitized books has become more volatile, more pressing and at the same time more complex. The Google Books project has been a major force in defining what we know today as the digital realm of literature. Google Books presents a set of new design solutions where design, among other things, responds to what stakeholders of the digital domain of books ‘need’. Drawing on the concept of ‘knowledge design’ our focus will be on the ways that the ‘snippet view’ design of Google Books on the one hand invites new ways of reading and correlating and, on the other hand, challenges the traditional legal status and relationships of books and their actors sustained by copyright law in the analogue world. We aim to identify a number of distinct needs of the involved actors – Google, authors, publishers, readers – that the ‘snippet view’ design addresses. Moreover, we shall consider the normative question of which needs should be directed in the digital realm of literature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICDHS 10th+1 Conference Proceedings Book : Back to the Future / The Future in the Past. Starting Again: Understanding Our Own Legacy
EditorsOriol Moret
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationBarcelona
PublisherUniversitat de Barcelona
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9788491681717
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Committee of Design History and Design Studies. ICDHS 10th+1: Back to the Future / the Future in the Past - Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 29 Oct 201831 Oct 2018
Conference number: 11


ConferenceInternational Committee of Design History and Design Studies. ICDHS 10th+1
LocationUniversitat de Barcelona
Internet address


  • Snippet view
  • Google books
  • Knowledge design
  • Copyright
  • Reading

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